by Tom Smerling
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Selective skepticismDeniers subject AGW to skepticism, but not their own position, which they are not often called upon to defend . So, their skepticism is selective and functions to maintain their existing beliefs, which they don't subject to any real scrutiny/counter-evidence. I like this phrase better than skepticism vs denial, but that's just me.-- Steve Reed (submitted by ClimateBites Forum "Suggestion Box")
One sided skepticism: It's like clapping with one hand (doesn't quite work)Great bite. Thanks also to Steve Reed (who I know from Climate Reality St. Louis for commenting on this bite). I prefer the term skeptic to denier also. However, the President of the St. Louis Skeptical Society does not like this term being used for those who refuse to accept climate change. At our most recent Climate Reality St. Louis meeting, someone suggested the word "cynic" instead for those who refuse to accept the evidence.
"one-sided skeptic" is about the best I've seen so far. ( See the longer discussion in the blog post with the same headline.)
Depends on your audienceI'm happy to use denier for a) organisations that foster doubt and misinformation, and b) people who show no capacity to respond to reasonable evidence.
It is important not to allow extremists to claim valid terms for their territory. Mann has given us a handy phrase for disallowing the vicious attack camp from claiming the term 'sceptic'. Even if they give themselves names like Galilleo!, we cannot have the conversation on THEIR terms.
Perhaps I see 'sceptic' as having an active component to it. It doesn't quite apply to the mass of people who are indifferent to the issue and not paying it much attention.
For those who are unsure, and not wallowing in the denier echo chamber, I'm inclined to think of them as 'doubters' rather than sceptics. But it's a fine point.
When I have a reasonable exchange with a new 'doubter' I would never use 'denier' because it is likely to shut down conversation. But for those who are 'rusted on' and in active denial, I'm happy to use the term.